Buying A Business In Thailand
Hi, it’s me back again. Pim, your Thai bar girl advisor to the mongers and potentates whose pockets are lined with silver and foreheads are tattooed with ATM. Thanks again to my German friend Helmut who is an English teacher here in Bangkok for
his translation and assistance with grammar and purpose.
This is a story of an unfortunate expatriate who came to Thailand as an employed contractor and who left in circumstances he’d rather forget. Let’s call him Carlos. Carlos was an immigrant to another country which I have never been; it’s a part of New Zealand called Australia. His native Peru (or there about in Europe) provided him with his passion and attitude which will become a large part of his experience in Thailand.
Carlos is a passionate man, whose dalliances with the ladies are legendary. He’s had wives and mistresses from near and far. He looks a great deal like Dana and even dresses like him, but they are miles apart. Carlos loves Thailand and loves its people and would defend them to the death. Even now in the days where he now has to live in Perth, New Zealand he still reminisces about what could have been, what should have been that nearly was?
But I get ahead of myself. Let’s talk the year 2001. A phone call from a good friend who recommended him for a role in Thailand gets Carlos’s juices running and he heads to the nearest Flight Centre for a ticket to Bangkok. He’s working for a New Zealand bank in the city of Sydney. He’s been the subject of racism and contempt for a lot of his life in Sydney and Perth as he a vibrant personality, prone to temper tantrums and has a turn of phrase that’s never short of a “fuck” or “bastard”. People tend to discount him as he is of small stature and of portly appearance but could never be called fat, although, through my Thai eyes you are all fat, so I would definitely call him fat. This is a point worth making. He’s extremely likeable and extremely volatile and this tends to create polar views on his character and competence from many of his friends and colleagues. This is where he often gets into strife. This will become apparent in the chapters ahead.
Carlos arrives in Thailand and is in instant raptures. The girls are small and beautiful. His favourite havens are the Hard Rock Café (pre 9/11) and the Sofitel. He’s earning a million baht a month and doesn’t know how to spend it. He shouldn’t have met me, Pim, and my friends. As we are experts in helping you stupid farangs spend your money. So Carlos enters into a lifestyle of a harem owner, with three telephones, three main mistresses, three sub mistresses and a bevy of other bar girls, good girls, half and half girls and an occasional trip to Pattaya or Hua Hin to fill in the off days. He learns of Nana and Cowboy and Soi 33. He gets into Pat Pong and learns of “soapies” and Rachadapisek road where the “fish bowls” of the massage parlours for the Thai elite are situated. His million baht is spent rescuing these unfortunates from themselves and their families. He has a minimum of ten mistresses at any one time, and at least another half dozen casuals he likes to call on and then a few others that he doesn’t bang, who he just feels sorry for.
Carlos doesn’t call any of these girls by name, as he cannot remember them all. They are “darling”. Their names are in his phone, so at least he has some idea of who they are. He takes photos of places they go, without any of him or her and duplicates them and hands them around to us. We believe we were there with him. It’s all part of his “con”, but he’s the one spending his money on us. I don’t get it!!
For me he’s bought me a clothes selling business outside Nana Plaza. I buy the clothes from Pratu Naam and resell them here at huge markups. I buy my friends things with the profits and Carlos always understands that business is “bad”. I really love the Hilux he bought me for getting my stock and bringing it here. He also understood when my brother needed it so he bought me another one. I really love Carlos. I hate his spidery fat grotesque body and hands anywhere near me, but I am one of the better actresses he has in his harem. I have another Carlos building me a house, so I can spare this one some money. I am not sure why I am being nice. But until he gets sick of me (and this will definitely happen, so I must milk furiously) I am happy, my friends are happy, and my family are happy (I send them B5,000 a month. I don’t want them to be too dependant)
Carlos has told me about his harem. I pretend this doesn’t bother me. I am just hoping that I am getting the fair share of the income. This is important to me. I feel that I am doing a service and I deserve a fair price. Simple really.
Well the inevitable happens to these farangs, they lose their jobs, get relocated or do something even more stupid. They buy a business in Thailand.
Carlos was a combination of these. He lost his job and then decided to use his life saving, his house equity in New Zealand to buy a franchise off a friendly German pedophile. Carlos is not stupid (unless it comes to the subject of saving his slappers) and he did his homework. The franchise website was a member of the Thailand Franchise Association (this proved to be false), was an award winning franchise in Thailand (this was false) and was a proven way to make money and the return on investment was likely less than twelve months (lies lies lies). To protect the guilty I will not disclose the nature of this business, but if you email me or ask at schoochers.com, I will point you in the right direction. Carlos visited franchisees in Pattaya and Chiang Mai. They perpetuated the lie as they were under instructions to do so, or they would not be supplied the goods they needed to carry on their money losing enterprises.
Carlos was hooked. After all, it’s only E100,000. He forked out the cash and then proceeded to build an infrastructure to support his potential storm of customers. He buys two “song teows”, rents two chop houses, has one all made up as the office; the other is a pad for his staff (he’s saving them too.) He canvases his entire area and makes a list of buildings and potential customers. He hires administrators, receptionists and advertises ion the yellow pages and the local newspapers. He makes pamphlets up and distributes them throughout his entire area. Only another E30,000 is spent in this effort. But he’s not discouraged as the money will be pouring in soon. He is under a supply contract for his raw materials and is getting a healthy discount as a preferred supplier. His equipment is also tied up under the franchise agreement and he orders double the usual amount as he wants to really take the area by storm.
And then he waits…… a few customers trickle in. Not what he was expecting because he’s a “Rolls Royce” supplier and all the Thais want is a “Skoda” price for a “Mercedes” job. How can this be right? For me, it’s a devastating time. Carlos is now clearly distracted and is not so fast to reach into his pockets to help his harem. He even got angry when I hinted that I was building a house in Hua Hin (Selling Hi Luxes when they are new is lucrative), but he still liked to have me on occasion, and I can see from all the time, money and effort he’s putting in to the business, a new financial windfall is about to happen for all of us. But in the meantime, I only have three other sponsors, and one of them is coming to town. This may get complicated. Carlos may like to squirt Latino juice up four score and ten of his hapless but financially secure slappers, but he believes that once he’s the fiscal manager he owns you. He doesn’t want anyone else hosing out the well trodden paths of our birth canals. Back to the story….
Now Carlos is not stupid, but he’s stubborn. He refuses to believe that his business is going to fail. He pours more money into it, developing better systems and perfecting the techniques of his staff. He buys them better uniforms and paints the trucks with the franchise colours. He advertises more. He sells his houses in New Zealand. He gets more credit cards. He’s going to beat it. Hard work will make it work…….
I was with Carlos the day the realization hit him that he was in a scam. He was searching the internet looking for prices on equipment and raw materials so he could introduce them to the franchise network so they could all make the savings. He came across some interesting anomalies. Not only was he paying 20 – 30% above “retail” for the RAW materials, his equipment was at least 50% more expensive. This couldn’t be right. He rang the suppliers and asked for quotes under a different name. I was worried. My income stream was going to get turned off. At this point it’s good to cry and be silent. This worked and Carlos assured me I’d be looked after whatever happens. I cried some more to see if I could get whatever money was left. This worked and I decided to go back to Carlos’s apartment and wait for him there, after heading out for a hair dresser appointment and down to Emporium for a new dress.
The phone calls to the various vendors confirmed his suspicions. It also confirmed collusion between the suppliers and the mater franchisor. He had contracts with them to supply at a fixed price and he raped secret commissions of the sales. All very above board… not!!! Even if there were customers, it was going to be hard to be competitive. It was time to take a stand and ask some hard questions.
The German was all of a sudden not available. He also ran a scam business down in Pattaya and spent a lot of time down there. He had two scam internet “discount card” scams which were raping people all over the world. His office staff stone walled, even under the most abusive of threats, and the German was not to be found. Until one day one of his staffers came to Carlos in tears. She had not been paid in months. It was like winning the lotto for Carlos, he was hemorrhaging money, with little or no customer base to support it. He was going to enact his revenge on the German child molester.
His research and evidence gathering was legendary. The German's staff all turned and started getting paid by Carlos (more outflow of cash) and they brought all of the German's falsified VAT invoices, statement and financial information. The other franchisees, smelling “fried schnitzel” all put their hands up to be counted and to give evidence. The German retaliated by using intimidation tactics. He resorted to using false fronts in Hong Kong to send official looking threats. He threatened bodily harm. Carlos’s business now was near collapse. He had another house left to sell and this would see him through these tough times. How he kept funding me, I don’t know, but there was always some spare cash to keep my clothes business going. He was so nice. Now was the time he made the biggest mistake of his life.
He was in the right, he had the evidence, he had everything needed to convict and get his money refunded, with damages. He then involved the Royal Thai Police. The detectives were suitably disinterested at getting into a scuffle between two stupid farangs (I must admit, it did seem silly to me too) and why couldn’t they just agree it was wrong and go their separate ways? But they also agreed Carlos had been wronged and that the German should show good faith and pay some of the money back to Carlos. The German was in full scam mode and was never going to part with a single baht. Carlos would never take less than the entire amount paid. This was about pride. This was about face. This was about stupidity.
So we enter the next phase of Carlos’s business in Thailand. He was getting a trickle of customers which made him work harder on his systems and methods. He would be the best and the Thai’s would see that and come flocking. Sorry, rich Thais have maids, drivers and lackeys to do their dirty work, and these plebs are under strict instructions to do it the cheapest way possible. So Carlos was on a fool’s errand. He was after the left handed screwdriver, he was buying checkered paint. He was fucked, but didn’t seem to see it. His friends all told him, “Carlos” get out now. Don’t put more in. But Carlos didn’t get to where he was today by listening to good advice. He decided to take the stupidity to another level. I remember one night, arm in arm with Carlos, watching a movie called War of the Roses. He laughed at their stupidity. He was angry with me today when I said he was acting like Michael Douglas in that movie. He hasn’t paid me anything for a while now, so I am not sure I care if he’s angry. Even crying doesn’t work!!
Carlos, though his lawyer, approaches the Police again seeing if he can grease the right palms to get this prosecuted. The lawyer takes this on with glee (he can see a healthy commission) and does the deal. Now there’s one thing dealing with a German crook, you know where you stand. When you start getting into organized crime, you’re in a totally different time continuum. The Police only wanted B500,000 up front. That was enough to get arrest warrants and get the German's Passport confiscated. So Carlos, now seriously anemic, taps the last of his reserves for this payment. Again, the uproar of his friends and family will not stop him in his revenge. He waits three months. Nothing happens.
I am now paying for our apartment. Luckily he likes to stay with one of his younger girls, so I really only get to see him at the office where I like to hang out and eat the free food and drinks. His staff is nice, but worried too as they can see there’s no business and Carlos is so tied up in his revenge, he cannot think about customers any more. He still pays them, and he keeps the rentals going. He’s now borrowing money to keep going. He’s amazed that I have turned my business around and I am now making serious profit. He’s commented he should be in that business instead.. hehe, if only he knew…..
So Carlos approaches the lawyers again, asking for a status update. They come back with the news you’re all expecting. We need another B300K. Carlos is not stupid and asks exactly what does he get for this B300K? (One friend asked what did he get for the first 500K, but that’s not a good subject to bring up with Carlos). They said they’d arrest the German and get his passport (sound familiar?) and Carlos went for it. Now to the credit of the Police, they did visit the German. He seemed to be prepared and had a lawyer there who then intimidated the detectives. His passport was surrendered. Not bad for B800,000
Wanna know what happened???
Follow this link and ask me…….
There is no shortage of people like Carlos out there. Thailand is a magnet for them.